Thursday, August 02, 2007


I'm not phobic about bridges. Even old ones that look unsturdy - there's a number of them in New Jersey. Gargantuan suspension bridges make me a bit anxious, but that's more from their height, & the structures towering over the roadbed. I would have enjoyed crossing the 35W bridge over the Missisippi on a daily commute, hardly giving a thought to how many tons of concrete & steel were used in constructing it. But after it fell, all that went into the structure was exposed. The photos are astonishing. Cars teetering over precipices, balanced on girders. sitting on slabs of concrete in the river, the entire bridge a jumble of pieces. Looking at some of those cars, assuming the people in them escaped serious injury, I wonder how they had the presence of mind to climb out & find their way to safety. Some of the cars are so positioned that you'd risk falling to your death just by opening the door stepping out. If you get out - & apparently most of the people in those intact cars survived - where the hell are you? Through your shock you're thinking, maybe this bridge isn't done collapsing. If you climb up, you're just going to a part of the bridge that has farther to fall. If you're safe on a concrete island in the river, it would be crazy to try to swim. Except when you look up, a whole section of the bridge appears about to crash down on you. You are in an absolutely alien landscape, in the middle of scenery you'd seen hundreds or thousands of times from another perpective as you drove through it sipping coffee & listening to the radio.

Oh dear god, don't get me started on bridges! I am terrified of them, and can honestly say I've never gone over the Golden Gate bridge in my life.

When I had recently moved to Portland, Oregon area back in 1982, I had to drive this tape down to the television studio from Lake Oswego to Portland. I took the local route, that turned for a short time into the freeway, but missed my exit and went over this span bridge that went over the Wilamette River, almost shitting my pants, I was so scared. After finally getting over to the other side, I know I have to get back, and fortunately, the retun was on the lower span of the bridge. But shit if I didn't miss the damn off ramp again, and went BACK over the bridge. By the time I got back on the other side, I was in tears, scared for my life.

I hate bridges, and only cross over really little ones, like over a creek or something.
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